Blog Archives

Ordnance P-47 Thunderbolt in the Pacific

WWII painting, P-47 Thunderbolt

The P-47 Thunderbolt was not generally welcomed in the Pacific theatre. It was seen as too clumsy to compete with the very agile Japanese fighters and it did not have the range for operations over the vast expanses of the Pacific. Worse, the P-47 was best at the high altitudes at which American bombers operated over Europe.  However, in Japan most combat occurred below 20,000 feet, where the P-47 was at its least maneuverable.

Despite these problems, General George C. Kenney, commander of the 5th Air Force in the SW Pacific, was determined to acquire as many aircraft as possible for his command.  The Lockheed P-38 Lighting was popular with American pilots in the Pacific, but not available in sufficient numbers.

The U.S. Navy escort carrier USS Barnes (ACV-20) underway in the Pacific Ocean on 1 July 1943, transporting U.S. Army Air Forces Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft.

Fortunately for Kenney, the first Thunderbolt unit to reach him was the 348th Fighter Group,  commanded by Col. Neel Kearby.  He was very enthusiastic about the P-47, and had put some thought into the best way to take advantage of the big fighter. One of its strengths was a very high speed in the dive.   He had put some thought into the best way to take advantage of the big fighter. One of its strengths was its very high speed in the dive. Kearby decided to take advantage of that.

Immediately after taking off,  his P-47s would climb to a high altitude.  At that height they would head towards their target, normally a Japanese base. Once close to the base they would dive into the attack. By the time they reached the target, they would be travelling at very high speed. Having made their attack, they would then use that high speed to climb back to high altitude before the Japanese could react.

Newly arrived USAAF Republic P-47 Thunderbolts lined up in a maintenance area at Agana Airfield, Guam, Marianas Islands on 28 March 1945.

These tactics would have been familiar to many British pilots of the Battle of Britain, having been used by pilots of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, who would reach high altitude over France, then swoop down on British fighters climbing to attack German bombers.  They were particularly effective in the SW Pacific.  Between August and December 1943 the 348th Fighter Group claimed over 150 victories while losing only 8 pilots. Kearby himself would become the highest scoring American P-47 Ace of the SW Pacific, with 22 confirmed kills.

Japanese Ki-43 War Thunder

The weak low level performance and limited maneuverability of the Thunderbolt was still a weakness.  Kearby himself was killed on 6 March 1944 during a fighter sweep over Wewak, when he stayed at low level to confirm a probably kill and was caught by a Ki-43.

The P-47 was never popular amongst pilots who were used to the P-38 Lighting, although many were forced to fly it in early in 1944.  The P-38 units had suffered relatively heavy losses in the fighting over Rabaul in November 1943, and P-38s were still in short supply. However, during 1944 the P-47 was slowly phased out in the SW Pacific. Suitable targets on New Guinea were in increasingly short supply. Those units that had converted from the P-38 were often able to convert back during the year. Early in 1945 even the 348th would move away from the Thunderbolt, moving onto the Merlin powered P-51D Mustang.  By the end of the war the only Thunderbolt unit remaining in the Fifth Air Force was the 58th Fighter Group, a ground attack unit.

P-47 design

In mid-1944 the 7th Air Force finally received the Thunderbolt and the Mustang. This was just in time for them to take part in the invasion of Saipan, flying onto the island in June 1944.  On Saipan the P-47 saw action in the ground attack role.

The capture of Iwo Jima and then Okinawa finally allowed the 7th’s Thunderbolts to see air to air combat. The two islands were used as bases during the increasingly heavy strategic bombing campaign over Japan.  Both Thunderbolt and Mustang units saw service in the high altitude bomber escort role at which the Thunderbolt excelled. The same period saw the arrival of the long range P-47N, which had a range of close to 2,000 miles with drop tanks.

P-47 firing its M2 machine guns during night gunnery

In terms of victories gained, the Thunderbolt’s best moment in the Central Pacific came in late May 1945. Kamikaze attacks were threatening Allied shipping around Okinawa, and so the 318th Fighter Group was allowed to fly fighter sweeps over southern Japan, with the aim of intercepting potential Kamikaze aircraft far from their targets.  In 2 sweeps, on 25 and 28 May, the Thunderbolts claimed nearly 40 victories.

The career of the P-47 Thunderbolt in the Pacific is a good example of how important it was for the pilot to adjust their tactics to their aircraft. If a Thunderbolt pilot allowed himself to be dragged into a low level dogfight then they were in serious trouble.

Mexican P-47D Thunderbolt over the Philippines.

Nicknamed as the “Jug” due to its silhouette looking like a milk jug,( some say it was named Jug, short for juggernaut )  Apart from US service, the P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft saw action as part of the British RAF, the French Air Force, Soviet Air Force and also as part of the contingent of pilots hailing from Brazil and Mexico who also participated as part of the Allied war effort.

RAF Thunderbolt Mk.II readying for a sortie over Burma. January 1945

The idea for this post came from Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Research from: the Smithsonian Museum; Pacific Encyclopedia; History of War and War History on line.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Elizabeth Brook – Galeburg, IL; US Navy WAVES, WWII, Lt.

Ethel Calabakas — Port Arthur, CAN; RC Army, WWII

John Hill – Webster, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PT-boats

Michael Kormos Jr. – Wilkes Barre, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 406th Squadron

Cleveland Lemon Jr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Charles M. Lentz – Independence, MO; US Navy, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 22 y.)

Terrance B. Salazar – San Antonio, TX; US Army, Spc., 82nd Airborne Division

James A. Scott – Aiken, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Frederick Trader – Oriska, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 2nd Lt., bombardier/navigator

Raymond R. Veckruise – Gary, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Del Ray Echo Hawk

”Ken’s Men Against the Empire, vol. I”

I acquired “Ken’s Men, Against the Empire, volume I” during this pandemic of ours and when I reached the story of Bootless Bay, I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I decided to share it with you all.  I thank the research of Lawrence J. Hickey and the IHRA for over 373 pages of unforgettable stories, plus a sneak preview of Volume II.  I can’t praise this organization enough.  I recommend you all try at least one of their books.

Del Ray Echo Hawk

Rescue from Bootless Bay

As men fought on the ground in New Guinea, the 5th Air Force was in the sky above them.  The B-24D, the “Ben Buzzard”, 43rd Bombardment Group/64th Bombardment Squadron, with Lt. Stephen Blount as pilot, could be heard over the radio at Seven Mile Drome as they returned in violent weather over the Owen Stanley Mts.,  and then the roar of the engines abruptly ceased…

“Ben Buzzard” 43rd Bombardment Group

Gas was leaking from a split in the trailing edge of the left wing; then one of the engines on the left wing suddenly quit and the radio operator couldn’t raise the tower, he had no idea if they were receiving his messages.

“Ben Buzzard” skipped across the water, then porpoised.  The rear part of the plane split and flipped over the nose.  Blount, not wearing his seatbelt, was catapulted through the Plexiglas windshield.

Jack Matisoff & Del Ray Echo Hawk, best friends

It was 18 October 1943 when Staff Sgt. DelRay Echo Hawk, who had been manning one of the waist guns and wounded, popped to the surface.  He then filled his lungs and dove back underwater.  He swam to the waist area of the aircraft, bent back the rear fuselage and pulled SSgt. Clayton L. Landon out of the wrecked Liberator.  Del Ray’s hands were cut and bleeding from the jagged metal, but he had saved Landon’s life.

Major Harold M. Brecht, who had just landed, hurried to his plane with another pilot and took off in search of the missing crew.  Their flight path took them directly down the length of Bootless Bay, where Blount and co-pilot, Julian Petty were yelling and waving frantically…

Crew taken in front of “Lucky Lucille”. Top 2nd from right is Jack Matisoff, 4th from Right, Echo Hawk. Signatures on back: Julian Al Petty, John R. O’Neal Jr., Coltrane C. Sherrill, Bob Lee, Bob Mason, Delray Echo Hawk, Albert Richter Jr., Jack Shainfine, Arthur Brent

Apparently unseen, the 4 surviving crewmen continued to ride the 3-foot swells.  Fortunately, within a few minutes a canoe appeared and turned in their direction.  Inside were 2 curious Australian enlisted men, who had seen the plane disappear and commandeered a native boat to investigate.

After a hurried discussion, it was decided that the men would hold onto the side of the canoe and be towed.

The Australians at the camp formed 2 long parallel lines 200 yards out in the water.  The Americans were passed from one man to another until they were safely on shore.

Landon and Echo Hawk, the most seriously injured, were laid out on the beach to await an ambulance.  They were then transported to a field hospital.

Lt. Blount would recommend Del Ray Echo Hawk, a member of the Oklahoma  Cherokee Nation, for the Silver Star for his exceptional bravery in rescuing SSgt. Landon.  Echo Hawk later received the Soldier’s Medal and the entire crew was awarded the Purple Heart.

Grave marker for Del Ray Echo Hawk

This story was condensed.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

###############################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Robert D. Bay – Chesterfield, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, Corps of Engineers, MGen. (Ret.)

Shirley (Cherrington) Beachum – Catawissa, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, link instructor

From: Cora Metz posters

Wilfred C. Cloutier – Guilford, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ralph Dunwoody – Aberdeen, SD; US Army, WWII, Intelligence & Recon

Dorothy D. Garippo – Roselle, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII, nurse

Yvonne H. Jackson – Owego, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Gene M. Kirby – Davenport, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO

A.J. Laughlin – New Carlisle, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Jack Moreland – Paducah, TX; US Army, WWII, 2nd Division

Raymond Sontag (101) – Creve Coeur, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt.

################################################################################################################################################################################################

MIS Interpreters

1944 MIS class; courtesy of Ted Yenarinat, National WWII Museum

Throughout the war, more than 6,000 Japanese Americans would serve in the MIS as translators and interrogators—often at great risk—for 130 units across the Pacific.  After the war the MIS Nisei were tapped for critical assignments during the occupation of Japan.

The Military Intelligence Service (MIS) consisted mainly of Nisei men, for further information on the Japanese-Americans who served, I have a series on them, that can be located HERE>

Nisei interpreters worked closely with American and Japanese officials to recover the war-torn nation and restore a peacetime government. They also worked as translators during war crimes trials held in Japan, China, the Philippines, French Indochina and the East Indies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the most valuable contributions of the Nisei in the MIS was the translation of the captured documents referred to as the “Z Plan,” which outlined the Japanese plans for counterattack in the Southwest Pacific in 1944.

By the war’s end Nisei linguists had translated an astounding 20.5 million pages of documents. Without a doubt, the intelligence gathered by MIS interpreters shortened the war and saved lives. The work that many Japanese Americans performed with the MIS extended beyond World War II into the Cold War years, including occupation duty. Nisei often served as a bridge between occupation authorities and civilians. This service often continued through the Korean War and into the Vietnam era.

During war crimes trials in the Pacific, Nisei translators and interpreters monitored translations, both English and Japanese, performed by Japanese interpreters. They listened for accuracy and possible corrections, ensuring a correct translation for the court records.

Nisei Women’s Army Corps, Ft. Snelling

The postwar contribution of the MIS included women; Nisei volunteers with the Women’s Army Corps [WAC] were trained in translation of military documents for occupation duty. Until the early 1970s many of the contributions of the MIS were classified, and the stories and service of Nisei linguists went unrecognized.

The first recognition of MIS veterans came with the Presidential Unit Citation awarded in 2000 by President George W. Bush. In 2010, MIS veterans received the Congressional Gold Medal along with the other Japanese American veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion.

Koso Kanemoto in Japan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fellow blogger, Koji Kanemoto speaks of his father’s, Koso Kanemoto’s, MIS duty in his posts….

“There’s No Toilet Paper in the Jungle of Burma”

WWII Military Intelligence Today

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Gerald Anderson – Coffee Springs, AL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Charles Bringe – Melrose, MN; US Navy, WWII, gunner / Korea

William Cook – Covelo, CA; US Army, Korea, Lt.

Gertrude Drummond – Glen Cove, NY; Civilian, WWII, Grumman Aircraft

Juan Jaurigue – Tucson, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, 3 Purple Hearts, Bronze Star

Wilbur F. Kohlmorgan (101) – Montrose, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 34th ‘Red Bull’ Division

Pauline Lagarde – New Orleans, LA; Civilian, WWII, Pentagon

Chester ‘Glen’ Norton – Mt. Eerie, IL; US Navy, WWII, gunner

Irving A. Troob – Providence, RI; US Army, WWII, Middle East & CBI, Technician, 96th Signal Battalion

Lionel Woods (100) – Alexandra, NZ; Royal Navy, WWII, # MX70124

######################################################################################################################################################

Pacific War Trials – conclusion

USMC Gen. R. Blake on Truk

There were 19 cases brought up for medical experiments at Truk. (Most people have only heard of these abominable acts from the Nazis.) Another was held for the slaughter of 98 Pan American airline employees on Wake Island in 1943. And ten others were sentenced to death; 18 were convicted of murdering civilians in the Palaus.

Upon Japan’s surrender, the Allies began organizing war crimes investigations and prosecutions throughout Asia. At the Tokyo Trial, the Allies prosecuted only 28 high-ranking ‘Class A’ suspects from various government and military departments on charges linked to the waging of war and war crimes.  Hundreds of lower-ranking ‘Class B’ and ‘Class C’ suspects of diverse ranks were prosecuted at other Allied trials operating across Asia.

The gallows for 18 prisoners charged w/ crimes at Changi, 1946

It is hard to arrive at the exact number of Allied trials held in Asia, as there continues to be access restrictions to some national trial records. Some latest estimates of the number of war crimes trials held by different national authorities in Asia are as follows: China (605 trials), the US (456 trials), the Netherlands (448 trials), Britain (330 trials), Australia (294 trials), the Philippines (72 trials), and France (39 trials).  In 1956, China prosecuted another four cases involving 1062 defendants, out of which 45 were sentenced and the rest acquitted.  The Allies conducted these trials before military courts pursuant to national laws of the Allied Power concerned.  Altogether 2244 war crimes prosecutions were conducted in Asia. 5700 defendants were prosecuted: 984 defendants were executed; 3419 sentenced to imprisonment; and 1018 acquitted.

JAPANESE WAR CRIMES TRIAL IN SINGAPORE (SE 6985) Lieutenant Nakamura, his head covered with a white hood, is led to the scaffold where he will be hung after being found guilty of beheading an Indian soldier with his sword on the Pulau Islands, 14 March 1946. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208817

The British conducted national war crimes trials (the Singapore Trials) pursuant to a 1945 Royal Warrant adopted by the British executive under royal prerogative powers (1945 Royal Warrant). The British military was given the responsibility of implementing these trials in different locations across Asia and Europe.  330 trials were organized by the British military in Asia. Of these, 131 trials were conducted in Singapore.

As of mid-1946, the British military had established 12 war crimes courts in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon, Hong Kong, and Borneo. Eight of 12 courts established were located in Singapore. There were also ‘travelling courts’ that made their way to particular locations to hear a case.

3 September 1946. Nisei Activities, Tokyo, Japan. Nisei monitors both civil service employees for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, War Ministry Building, Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Sho Onodere, Language Division, IMTFE, from Los Angeles, California, left, and Mr. Lanny Miyamoto, Language Division, IMTFE, From Los Angeles, California, right, listen to courtroom procedure. As the Japanese interpreters for the court make their translations, these men listen to their statements for accuracy and possible corrections, thus insuring a correct translation for the court records. Their job is twofold, for when the English speaking attornerys have the flloor, translation of English into Japaense must also be monitored. This is one of the many important positions held by Nisei in the Tokyo Area. Photographer: Davis.
Box 444

Singapore served as the base for the British military’s war crimes investigations and prosecutions in Asia. Investigations were conducted out of Goodwood Park Hotel. Post-war conditions in Singapore posed many challenges to the organizing of these trials. There was a shortage of food, basic necessities, and qualified personnel in post-war Singapore.

Trials conducted in Singapore concerned not only Japanese military atrocities perpetrated in Singapore but those committed in other parts of Asia

A substantial number of trials addressed the abuse and neglect of POWs and civilian detainees in prisons and camps, such as Changi Prison, Sime Road Prison, Outram Road Gaol, and Selarang Barracks.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Nikyisha T. Boyd – Kissimmee, FL US Army, Midlle East, Sgt. 1st Class, 1st Special Forces

Paul Coleman – Roswell, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

William Degen – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Army

Dallas G. Garza – Fayetteville, NC; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Chief Warrant officer, KIA (South Sinai)

Marwan S. Ghabour – Malborough, MA; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Chief Warrant Officer, KIA (South Sinai)

Robert C. MacDonald – Hamilton, CAN; RC Air Force (RAF), WWII, CBI, Sgt., radarman

Kyle R. McKee – Painsville, OH; US Army (MFO), Egypt, SSgt., KIA (South Sinai)

Jeremy C. Sherman – Watseka, IL; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Sgt., KIA (South Sinai)

Seth V. Vandekamp – Katy, TX; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Captain, KIA (South Sinai)

Joseph Watson (102) – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII, Pvt. # 6290224, 50th Northcumberland Regiment

########################################################################################################################################################################

Pacific War Trials – part three

Kempeitai

The British prosecuted Japanese along the Malay Peninsula, in Borneo, New Britain, Rangoon and Singapore. In Malay, 35 Kempeitai (secret police) were tried and 29 went to the gallows. The most publicized trial involved those at the “River Kwai” for causing almost 600 deaths of the 2,000 POWs that built the Burma Siam railroad.

Shiro Ishii

Australia listed 35 separate charges, including cannibalism and mutilation of a dead body. The most famous was Shiro Ishii of Unit 731 for subjecting prisoners to horrendous experiments. These crimes against humanity were normally held in cooperation with British and American officials. One trial held on New Guinea was for a Japanese officer who ate part of an Australian POW. The defense claimed starvation as a reason for his mental demise – he was hanged.

The largest trial of 503 Japanese was held by Australia for cruelty to prisoners on Amoina and 92 were convicted. In Rabaul, New Britain, 1,000 American and British POWs were forced to march 165 miles and only 183 made it the entire route. The Japanese commander executed the survivors. The officer had survived the war – but not the court.

Michiaki Kamada

The Netherlands tried an ugly case for Vice Admiral Michiaki Kamada who ordered 1,500 natives of Borneo murdered. Four others were executed for their participation in the awful treatment of 2,000 Dutch prisoners on Flores Island. Another case involved the treatment of 5,000 Indonesian laborers, 500 Allied POWs and 1,000 civilians.

China tried 800 defendants, whereby 500 were convicted and 149 sentenced to death.

The French held the least number of trials and dealt with them as ordinary crimes. Five Japanese were given the death penalty for the murder of American airmen in Indochina. The French were still holding their trials as late as November 1951.

As mentioned previously, the Russian “trials” were held as propaganda against the West. The charges would be dismissed, due to “arrested development.” ( suggesting that the Japanese were hindered in their development since they were not subject to Soviet culture and education.) The Soviets publicly made it clear that they were “on to” Japan and her American friend’s plot against them.

Abe Koso under guard.

The U.S. Navy tried the Japanese accused of crimes on the Pacific islands. Three were held on Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands and 44 were put on trial on Guam. These were closely held in conjunction with British, Australian and Indonesian officials. Abe Koso, became the naval commander at Kwajalein and ordered the beheading of nine Marine Raiders that were left behind after the Makin Raid. Koso defended his acts by claiming the Marines were U.S. spies. The tribunal rejected his claim and 19 June 1947, he was hanged.

To be continued…

Click on images to enlarge.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

La Fayette A. Bronston – Springfield, OH; USMC, VIetnam, SSgt., 3 Purple Hearts, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Max W. Daniels (103) – Lake Como, PA; USMC, WWII, cook

WHAT IS A VETERAN?

Joe, Francis & Harry Doyle – Arthur, CAN; Canadian Armed Forces, WWII, KIA (in Memorandum by the Doyle Family)

James Fleming – Hawkes Bay, NZ; NZEF, WWII # 103747, NZ Engineers

Leo Hines – Albany, NY; US Army, Vietnam, 506/11/101st Airborne Division

Wally McLaughlin – Minneapolis, MN; US Army, Korea, 187 RCT/11th Airborne Division

William Schroeder – Boise, ID; USMC, Korea, B Co./1/7th Marines

Michaela Ticha – CZE; MFO Sgt. (Multinational Force & Observers), KIA (So. Sinai)

Gregory Troutman – Salisbury, NC; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 187th RCT / Pentagon, Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

John ‘Val’ Wachtel IV – Topeka, KS; US Army, Vietnam, Green Beret

Pacific War Trials – part two

Courtroom spectators, Manila

The Allies also established the United Nations War Crimes Commission (the UNWCC) in 1943.  The UNWCC collected evidence on Axis war crimes and drew up lists of suspected war criminals for Allied prosecution after the war.  In 1944, a sub-commission of the UNWCC was established in Chungking to focus on the investigation of Japanese atrocities.

The major trials being held in Tokyo were presided by the U.S., Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, France, China and the Philippines and began in May 1946. General MacArthur, as supreme commander of the Allied powers, largely controlled the progress of the trials. They started with 25 defendants, but two passed away during the proceedings and another was evaluated as too mentally deficient to participate.

Hideki Tojo listening to testimonies.

Hideki Tojo was the most infamous face to symbolize Japanese aggression being that he was the Prime Minister at the time of Pearl Harbor. A 55-count indictment was drafted by the British prosecutor, Arthur Comyns-Carr. Every nation’s prosecutor signed the document listing: 36 counts of ‘crimes against peace’, 16 for murder and 3 counts for ‘other conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity’ for the major persons involved. These proceedings were held at the Japanese War Ministry Building and would last until November 1948. During this time, the prosecution called 400 witnesses and produced 800 affidavits.

Foreign Minister, Koki Hirota at his sentencing.

Tojo took responsibility as premier for anything he or his country had done; others argued that they had operated in self-defense due to the ABCD power’s embargo and military assistance given to China. In Tokyo, all defendants were found guilty. The death sentence was given to: Hideki Tojo; Foreign Minister Koki Hirota; Generals Kenji Doihara, Seishiro Itagaki, Akiro Muto, Hyoturo Kimura and Iwane Matsui – these sentences were carried out three days later.

Sixteen others received life in prison. Eight of the judges agreed on all of the sentences. Sir William Webb dissented, Delfin Jaramilla of P.I. thought they were too lenient, H. Bernard of France found fault with the proceedings, B.V.A. Roeling of the Netherlands voted to acquit Hirota and several others.  A complete dissent came from Radhabinod Pal of India.

Tomaya Kawakita and his attorney

Another series of tribunals were held in Yokohama, Japan. These were for lower ranking officers, Shinto priests, medical personnel and farmers in association with the treatment of prisoners. One case involved the ship, Oryoko Maru, upon which 1,300 POWs died in 1944. The secret police, the Kempeitai, were brought to justice along with other spies. The trial of Tomaya Kawakita was moved from Yokohama to Los Angeles at his request being that he was born in the United States. This was a clear case of “be careful what you wish for” – the American court sentenced him to death.

American tribunals were held in Shanghai for those accused of executing American airmen under the “Enemy Airmen’s Act” due to the Doolittle raid on Japan in April 1942, when many prisoners were murdered as an act of revenge for that mission of bombing Japan early in the war.

To be continued…

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Ralph Becker – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 388th Bomb Group/8th Air Force

Alice Keller Clark – Lebanon, PA; US Army Air Corps WAC, WWII

David A. Deatherage – Independence, MO; US Army, Korea, Co. A/187th RCT

James M. Flanagan – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

George Homer Jr. – New Rochelle, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/457th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

George La Marsh – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

John Price – Muskogee, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PB4Y-2 bombardier

Charles ‘Chuck’ Reiner (100) – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII  /  31 y. career as volunteer, Red Cross, VA Hospital, DAV

Jack Schouten – Keokuk, IA; US Army, WWII, SSgt., 588th Signal Depot Company

Edward Wall – Riverside, CA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Pacific War Trials – part one

Yamashita at his trial.

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he led his staff officers of the 14th Area Army to surrender, 2 Sept. 1945. He did not believe in hara-kiri.  He said, “If I kill myself, someone else will have to take the blame.”

Just as the Japanese surrenders occurred in different places and on different dates, so were the trials. The regulations used differed and the criminal charges varied. Preparations for the war crimes started early in mid-1942 due to the heinous reports coming out of China during the Japanese invasion in 1937. The home front recollections of these proceedings might differ from the facts stated here because of the media slant at the time and sensationalism.

Trial correspondents

Often, the stories were even inaccurate, such as in Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals.

Soviet trials are not included here as these were held merely as propaganda show pieces. The defendants mostly pleaded guilty, made a public apology and said something wonderful about communism and the “People’s Paradise” of Russia.

Yamashita’s military commission

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

Yamashita speaks at his trial.

MacArthur let it be known that Truman wanted the proceedings to be completed at the earliest possible date. It became obvious that the verdict was predetermined; even one correspondent at the scene reported, “In the opinion of probably every correspondent covering the trial, the military commission came into the courtroom the first day with the decision already in its collective pocket.” Many observers felt that Yamashita was not being accorded due process as MacArthur and the commission refused to provide copies of the transcript. Proof that the general had known of the atrocities was never given, but after closing arguments, it was announced that the verdict would be given in two days. Significantly, the guilty verdict was given on 7 December 1945. The general was hanged in Manila, Philippines on 23 February 1946 because the men he commanded had committed evil acts during the war.

Yamashita upon hearing the verdict.

Hundreds of others were also prosecuted in the American trials, including Lt. General Matsaharu Homma, the man who actually did order the Bataan Death March and the bombing of the undefended “open city” of Manila. His headquarters had been 500 yards from the road the prisoners had marched and died on and he had admitted having driven down that road of blood many times. He was sentenced to hang.  His wife appealed to MacArthur to spare him – which he refused, but did execute Homma by the less disgraceful method of firing squad.

Gen. Homma with his attorneys

During these trials in the Philippines, 215 Japanese faced criminal charges and 20 were declared innocent and 92 were given the death sentence. In one case, Philippine President Manuel Roxas appealed to China’s Chiang Kai-shek to spare the life of one Japanese officer who had saved his life and that of several other Filipinos. The request was granted.

Manila Hotel Annex, 1945

CLCIK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Morgan Bryant Jr. – Delray Beach, FL; USMC, Vietnam (2 tours), Sgt.

Sean Connery (Sir Thomas) – Edinburgh, SCOT; Royal Navy, Able Seaman, HMS Formidable,  /  Beloved Actor

Vincent De Magistris – Chester, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, RHQ/503rd RCT/11th Airborne Division

Jean (Love) Glass – Sokane, WA; Civilian, WWII, Boeing Aircraft

Vernon Hogsett – Lamar, NE; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

Dave Knight – Skowhegan, ME; US Army, Vietnam, Sgt., 173rd Airborne

James Larson – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Clarence Mantis – Dayton, OH; US Navy, WWII

Ronald Shurer – Puyallup, WA; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., Senior Medical Sgt., Silver Star, Medal of Honor

Billy D. Welch – Hendersonville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret.)

################################################################################################################

Halloween 2020

Halloween this year has many comparisons to that which went on during WWII, but there were no episodes of mass destruction in the cities as I have seen in Philadelphia.

WWII put quite the damper on any activity as chaotic as Halloween was back in those days, people weren’t making heroes out of criminals … according to history, war shortages made everyone edgy, and towns clamped down on Halloween pranking with both curfews and notices sent home from principals and police. There was a national plea for conservation: any piece of property damaged during Halloween pranking was a direct affront to the war effort.

In 1942 the Chicago City Council voted to abolish Halloween and institute instead “Conservation Day” on October 31st. (This wasn’t the only attempt to reshape Halloween: President Truman tried to declare it “Youth Honor Day” in 1950 but the House of Representatives, sidetracked by the Korean War, neglected to act on the motion. In 1941 the last week of October was declared “National Donut Week,” and then years later, “National Popcorn Week.”)

A day for dressing up.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when it was believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead become blurred. It has since evolved into a holiday when spooky legends, myths and folklore take center stage—each with their own dark history.

The first Halloween during WWII was in 1942, when the nation was in full-tilt war production mode and millions of men were in uniform.  Children and teenagers were suddenly set free from adult supervision, as mothers and fathers spent more time working or away from home altogether.  There were widespread fears of juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior.  Fear was a dominant emotion during the war years and the vandalism one might expect on Halloween now seemed to portend greater crimes.  Many communities did, in fact, cancel Halloween that year.

Some folks saw the opportunity to co-opt, rather than ban, the holiday by hosting costume  parties, dances, etc. to lure the would-be delinquents off the streets and into safer environments. (Still not much candy available though, due to the rationing of sugar.)  It worked.  Halloween vandalism feel off in 1942 and after the war, neighborhoods began hosting a kind of roving festival for kids – trick-or-treating.

For templates to create your own military pumpkins ___ CLICK HERE!!

###############################################################################################################

Military HALLOWEEN Humor ~

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

James Blaney – Milwaukee, WI; US National Guard, Major General (Ret.)

Eric Bunger – Sioux Falls, SD; US Army, Afghanistan & Iraq, Sgt., 82nd Airborne Division

Christopher Crossett – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Alpha Farrow – Lindsay, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., 10th Mt. Division / Vietnam & Korea, Chaplain, Col. (Ret.)

Morgan Garrett – Weddington, NC; US Coast Guard, Ensign

William Hinchey – Middletown, RI; USMC, WWII, CBI

Duane T. Kyser – Muskogee, OK; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)Rhiannon Ross – Waxom, MI; US Navy, Lt.

David Mansfield (100) – Thorold, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Carlisle Trost – Valmeyer, IL; US Navy, Naval Academy grad ’53, 23rd Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral (Ret. 37 y.)

Walter S. Wojtczak (105) – Newbury, NH; US Army, WWII, Major, Corps of Engineers

Eye-witness Account

Jack Wilde, WWII

Jack Wilde woke up covered in blood. The gore gushed down his leg. His head pounded.

The second lieutenant had been hunched over in the cramped tail section of the B-25, so he didn’t really know what had happened.

He remembered the plane banking and suddenly starting to climb. Moments later he’d heard branches hitting the port tail wing. “I thought to myself, ‘Boy, that’s something to write home about,’ ” he recalled years later. “And about that time, it really was something to write home about because we hit the top of the mountain.”

Jack Wilde had found himself flying over the New Guinea jungle in January 1945 because his infantry division was part of the Allied forces leapfrogging across the Dutch East Indies toward Japan.

Intelligence had come in indicating that Japanese detachments were working their way toward the U.S. base at Sansapor, so commanders ordered an aerial reconnaissance to determine where exactly the enemy was.

Wilde headed for the B-25 along with the six other officers involved in the mission, he changed his mind. He turned to Lt. Tom Coghlan, who was seeing the group off.

“How about lending me that .45 of yours,” he said. “I’ll give it back to you after the ride is over.”

Coghlan handed over the gun and shoulder holster.

The plane had been in the air only about five minutes — flying low in a river canyon — when it made the rapid, steep ascent. A moment later the plane shook, throwing Wilde forward. The last thing he remembered was the Plexiglass over the tail gun shattering.

B-25G Mitchell

When Wilde regained consciousness, he realized he had a smattering of cuts on his face, but the real problem was his right leg. There were two deep punctures behind the kneecap, with blood pouring out. He tried to move the leg, sending a blast of pain shuddering through his body.

He climbed out of the mangled B-25 Mitchell and surveyed it. A wing was gone. The nose had been smashed into a disk. One of the engines sat on the ground nearby, still buzzing.

He found the other men in the wreckage. All dead.

The 22-year-old lieutenant didn’t have time to wonder how in the world he had managed to survive the crash. He didn’t even have time to be afraid. But the horrible scene would stay with him the rest of his life.

Turning away from the smoking debris that day, Lt. Jack Wilde took stock. He had on him 10 cigarettes, a lighter — and that .45 automatic, with seven rounds of ammunition.

That would have to be enough. He had to get moving. He figured that, with the noise the B-25 made while going down, any Japanese soldiers in the vicinity would be heading toward the area.

example of New Guinea jungle.

He was confident he could stay alive in the New Guinea jungle. He’d seen proof that it was possible.

The American lieutenant now oriented himself in the jungle as best he could and headed off. At first his damaged leg was so bad he had to drag himself on his belly. He was actually about 10 miles west of his destination.

The first night he found a big rock to hide behind. Rain poured down relentlessly through the darkness. His leg throbbed; he could feel blood still bubbling out of the wound. For the first time, the thought crossed his mind that he might die.

On his third day in the New Guinea jungle, Lt. Jack Wilde came upon a river that offered a series of violent waterfalls and rapids, with sheer cliffs on both sides rising between 50- and 100-feet high.

He sure liked the idea of letting that river carry him along, but he recognized that it was a foolish thought.  “I knew that in my condition I wasn’t able to survive that waterfall and what was going on in that river, because it was going down the mountainside at a hell of a clip,” he recalled.

But he also knew that walking wasn’t working out. When he came upon a large piece of balsa wood, he found himself thinking, “If that thing would float, I could just hang on and ride that waterfall out.”

He didn’t let himself consider it too hard: he jumped in the water, holding the balsa wood tight. Over the falls he went.  In the pool below the waterfall, the buoyant block of wood pulled him to the surface. He gasped for air, elated.

“That piece of wood and I were friends for two days,” he said.

There was just one problem: he was sometimes riding the rapids right past the enemy along the banks.

So when he saw that he was coming up on open areas where soldiers might be, he would slow down his progress, “find a brushy part and crawl out like an alligator and observe everything from a camouflage position and then sneak my way through the brush to the next place where I had to swim.”

He managed to avoid the Japanese, but more challenges remained. This included the fruitless search for food — and an encounter with a large wild boar that appeared intent on attack.

“I couldn’t shoot him, of course, because that would give me away,” he said. “Finally, I resorted to animal behavior, baring my teeth and like that.”  The boar, perhaps bemused, eventually wandered off.

Jack Wilde

Finally, after five full days in the jungle with nothing to eat, Wilde reached the mouth of the river — and found, “to my absolute horror,” a series of sturdy Japanese pillboxes blocking the crossing he needed to make.

“Well, there are times in life when you just have to accept that things are not the way you want them,” he said when relating his adventure 50 years later. “So I pulled back the slide on the automatic and made sure there was a shell in the chamber and took it off safe and put it in my right hand and thought to myself, ‘Well, fellas, here we come.’ ”

He eased his way along the fortifications and peeked in, one by one. He breathed: the pillboxes had been abandoned. But his relief didn’t last long. After he crossed the river and began to push through the brush, he spotted soldiers moving carefully along the edge of the beach.

His luck once again held. As he headed toward the men, staying low, he realized it wasn’t the enemy. It was a patrol from his 167th infantry.

He moved onto the beach, took off his hat and started waving it. He now realized he was going to survive this ordeal. That he might have a long life after all. And he did.

Wilde’s fellow soldiers carried him to a forward outpost, and from there they sent him by boat to the main base.

“When I came ashore, who was standing there but Lt. Coghlan,” Wilde said. “I handed him his pistol and holster and said, ‘Thank you.’ ”

He hadn’t needed to use it, he pointed out, but “I was sure glad I had it.”

In a letter home a few days later, Jack Wilde wrote that the base doctors “seem to think it remarkable that I could walk out — but I was damn hungry.”

Jack Wilde passed away in 2011 at the age of 89.

©2020 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

Click on images to enlarge.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Roger C. Butts – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, Cook 2nd Class # 1144738, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Ralph Cole – Huntsville, AL; US Army, WWII / NASA, electric engineer

By: Howard Brodie

Warren D’Alesandro – Staten Island, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-24 flight engineer

Raymond Hawes – Providence, RI; US Army, Japanese Occupation

Howard D. Hodges – Washington, NC; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 1st Class, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Joyce Matthews – St. Petersburg, FL; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

J. Lee Ogburn (102) – Atlanta, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 pilot, 14th Air Force

Carrie Roberts – Pearsall, TX; Civilian, WWII, built bomb sights

Richard Smith (102) – Guy Mills, PA; US Navy, WWII, Lt. Commander, pilot

Joseph Zaleski – New Britain, CT; US Navy, WWII

Pacific War in art – 1945

I wish all of the distinguished artists of WWII could have been included – here is the final year of the Pacific War…

“Battle of Luzon” by: Yorozujiro Terauchi, 1945

Mandalay, Burma, by: David Pentland, Feb. ’45

Pacific Glory” by: Nicholas Trudgian

It is March 1945 and the P-38’s of the 475th FG are involved in a huge dogfight with Japanese Zeros over the coast of Indo-China. Flying “Pee Wee V” is Lt Ken Hart of the 431st Fighter Squadron, who has fatally damaged a Zero in a blistering head on encounter. The second P-38L – “Vickie” – belongs to Captain John ‘rabbit’ Pietz, who would end the War as an Ace with six victories.
Signed by three highly decorated P-38 pilots who flew in combat with the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

‘The Great Tokyo Air Raid’ by: Hashimoto Kimisuke, 10 March ’45, age 7

Raid on China Coast, By: Roy Grinnell April ’45

“Indochina Prisoners of War” by: Donald Friend

‘Ready Room’ by: Tom Lea

“Victoria, Labuan Island” Borneo, July ’45 by: William E. Pigeon

“Standing Guard” by Sgt. John Ruge, USMC, Naha, Okinawa, cover of ‘Yank’ mag.

“Surrender Flight” by: Mike Hagel, 19 Aug. 1945

‘Milk Run to Kyushu’ by: Jack Fellows

 

“USS Missouri Signing” by: Standish Backus, 2 Sept. ’45

Responsibility, But For What? Kyoto Street by: Barse Miller. Army WWII, 28 Sept. ’45

‘Japan Surrender’ by: Howard Brodie (veteran of 3 wars, Bronze Star)

Resources –

IHRA: for their blog and their books and prints

Jack Fellows website

Howard Brodie sketches

“WWII” by: James Jones

“WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature” by: David Colbert

For the art of Nicholas Trudgian http://www.brooksart.com/Pacificglory.html

Roy Grinnell

https://www.roygrinnellart.com/ Barse Miller

http://www.artnet.com/artists/barse-miller/

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE AND VIEW THE DETAIL.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence Beller – Bisbee, AZ; US Air Force, Korea, 67th Airborne Reporter Corps

Jack Bray – Madison, WI; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division + 187th RCT

Adam M. Foti – Moyack, NC; US Navy, Chief Petty Officer, USS Jason Dunham

Juan Garcia – Brownsville, TX; US Army, Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret.), Co. E/3/506/101st Airborne Division

John Hoyt – Reading, MA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Leon Kneebone – State College, PA, US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co F/187/11th Airborne Division

George E. Lineham – Sanbornville, NH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward C. Meyer – Arlington, VA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, General, Army Chief of Staff, West Point grad ’51, Bronze Star, 2 Silver Stars, Purple Heart

Earl Smith Jr. – Oakland, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., 80th Fighter Squadron, P-38 pilot, KIA (Paga Point, New Guinea)

John Waterman (100) – Tunbridge Wells, ENG; Royal Army, Special Boat & Air Services, WWII

#####################################################################################################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: